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The Art Renewal Center

Lost in the gutter of Cubism, Modernism, Post-modernism, Expressionism, Dadaism and other rubbishisms? Find real art at the ARC.

False Gods

They can't draw or paint or create a half-decent artwork but are worshiped by the art establishment as Gods. We prefer to remain infidels and refuse to kowtow to the False Gods of Art.

How the culture-vultures impoverished my soul

One expects art to ennoble our souls, much like a novel by Victor Hugo or a film by Bimal Roy. Instead, stepping into a gallery is like stepping on shit -bullshit.

Critiquing the critics

We smack down these smug bastards and their idiotic art-jargonese con mucho gusto!

Featured Art Videos

'Inflammatory' artist Jon McNaughton on his anti-Obama work
Roger Scruton - Why Beauty Matters (2009) - BBC documentary

Dec 4, 2007

Photo report on the Savera art show

This is a photo report on the charity art show organized by the Savera Foundation at the Hotel Intercontinental, Delhi in November and curated by Mr. Naresh Kupuria.One of my works was on display.

Only a few seconds after entering the exhibition, a tiresome sense of utter déja-vu takes over.
There are the mandatory firengees(foreigners):


the ubiquitous gold-laden, over-madeup dames from the millionaires' wive's club:

millionaires' wives' club

millionaires' wives' club

the bearded, long-haired artee-sharties and kurta-wallahs ruminating over a few pegs:


some devtas* of the art world:

is that Paresh Maity

OK, Who else? Vinod Khanna was there(captured here in front of something, hard to say what, made by Naresh Kupuria):

Vinod Khanna

an alien presence among the ladies? :

alien presence

As for the art works, there were the always-there and almost always badly painted clowns(what's with the clowns anyway? Why are they so trendy?):

a work by Dibyendru Bhadra

no escaping concentric circles and bindus*:

a work by Namita Malik

more circles by Shobha Broota

then, one of the favorite themes of our times -jumbled up body parts(here by that mahaan cheez* FN Souza):

a work by FN Souza

in fact, whole bodies split up:

a painting by Kamar Alam

and put back together(as if by a surgeon who has learnt only how to cut and chop but not sew back into a rational whole). A kalyug* version of some god? :

a work by Biswajit Mandal

the peace and serenity brigade, with lotuses blooming perhaps at the wrong places:

a work by Deepak Kumar Ambuj

Lord Buddha doesn't seem to mind those lovingly emptied glasses of whiskey:

Buddha and emptied glasses of whiskey

a gentleman(a sardarjee*?) in a mysterious pose in front of a mysterious light or presence:

mysterious light

this work is trying to say something deep -I am too shallow to figure it out:

something deep

gimmicky 'sculptures':

a work by Anita Kulkarni

Something interesting, for a change. A hint of better things to come from this artist, I hope:

a painting by Ompal Sansanwal

this is good, technically sound:

a painting by Shuvaprassana

Sanjay Bhattacharya, one India's best artists, sadly disappoints by sending an amateurish work. Sanjay, how could you? :

a painting by Sanjay Bhattacharya

Patterns, designs:

a work by Vijaya Bagai

and more of the same, only worse:

a work by Sangeeta K Murthy

Amidst all this, my painting appears forlorn and lonely:

a painting by Gurmeet

Finally, something one can rest one's eyes on with joy for a long, long time -a lovely woman:

a lovely woman

Seen it all, felt it all -another fatiguing visit to an art show.It has done nothing to raise my low opinion of contemporary art.But then, I didn't expect it to.To have expectations is to be disappointed again and again.I have stopped being disappointed because I expect nothing of the preening mediocrities that the art scene is overflowing with.

Reporting for What the Heck is Art? this is yours truly.

Note - my work displayed (The Tourist, watercolor and acrylics) at this exhibition can be seen here.

*The colorful Indian language translator-
devtas -Hindu male gods
bindus -circles
mahaan cheez -Great Person, (used sarcastically)
kalyug-"Age of Kali", "age of vice"
sardarjee- a Sikh

Bump- oops, it's Savera Association, not Savera Foundation.

Very, very important announcement- There was an extremely sweet lady at the exhibition who kept smiling and looking at me with deep eyes. If she is reading this, will she get in touch with this lost and lonely soul? Nothing no bar.

Normal programming to resume shortly

Blogging interrupted due to various and never ending trials and tribulations.I wish it was all roses and applause.

But what the heck!
Normal programming to resume shortly.

Note- I am unable, due to lack of information, to credit the image above but thank the unknown(to me!) creator for the wonderful image.It's an animated gif- if it's not animating then just click on it to view the animation.

Oct 16, 2007

All the art in the world will not reduce poverty one bit

It seems that there is going to be an arty-sharty event under the holy blessings of a famous guru, with rock concerts, art shows and a parade of page 3 bimbettes like Nafisa Ali and Nandita Das. The cause- we live in a time where the elites have a deep seated psychological need of a 'cause' to salve their consciences- is to "participate and raise our voices against poverty and a peaceful world" in the support of 'United Nations Millennium Development Goals'.
(Are they really going to raise their voices against a peaceful world?-ed)

As if 'Make Poverty History' was a great success.
Of course, this is just another excuse for the rich and the guilty to feel good as they drive to the event in their Mercedes and Skodas, or fly in first class from another city. As for the artists and artistes, an occassion to ingratiate themselves with the 'happening' crowd and another step on the ladder of their careers.In short, everyone happy.

As for the actual poor, none are likely to attend the event( and if they tried they would run the risk of being chased away from the gates of the IHC, an uber-elite complex of the rich and the famous)

Those who are crazy to be part of something associated with the United Nations are often unaware (or don't care) that the programs of the UN are run by a bureaucracy that like all bureaucracies all over the world is inefficient, self-serving, unaccountable,venal and corrupt. In the case of the United Nations, the unaccountability has plumbed to great depths.It's corruption and venality takes on a global scale by the very nature of the institution. Who gave us the far reaching corruption of oil-for-food? The utter unaccountability of UNDP in North Korea? The raping, looting and child prostitution conducted by it's soldiers (the sex-for-food scandal)?

The 'United Nations Millennium Development Goals' is the planet scale version of Indira Gandhi's garibi-hatao(remove poverty) and is as likely to fail. Indian economy began to take off only when the deathgrip of state socialism was loosened beginning 1991. We all know what works, although several are reluctant to admit it. There is a very, very hysterically vocal section of society everywhere which opposes that which will (and has proved to) reduce poverty anywhere it has been tried. Ironically, that section, made up of powerful coalitions of left-leaning NGO's , 'civil society' groups and various members of the media-arts elites are highly influential at the UN. An ambitious planet-wide project under their aegis means only one thing-
"...a sort of utopian central planning by global bureaucrats, a crash program like a Great Leap Forward for poor countries," ........ "This will not work any better than central planning by bureaucrats has worked anywhere else, which is to say not at all."

For example, the long section on aid shoves right past the realities to rattle the cup for more money flowing through the gullies of UN plans and bureaucracy, where so much has already vanished, or been diverted into support of bad governments that create precisely the conditions that inflict poverty. Someone needs to remind Mr. Annan that every dollar taxed away from the citizens of the rich nations of the world is a dollar less that's available for these same private citizens to buy goods for which there is genuine market-driven demand--that being the real engine of development.

Mr. Annan wants every poor country to produce--get ready for the mouthful--a "Millennium Development Goals-based" national strategy (meaning, in line with U.N. plans). By September he wants donor countries to produce "timetables and monitorable targets" to align aid delivery with all these strategies. Then, the U.N. will baste this all together into a plan even bigger than Oil for Food, which sounds like an unfortunate idea. Mr. Annan gets it partly right about the need for free trade, but he urges such openness only for the richest nations, not for the poorest--a vision that will make the rich richer, but do far less for the poor. Meanwhile, he deplores a growing income gap between rich and poor nations.

Some sections are almost comic, such as Mr. Annan's chiding the Security Council and General Assembly that when they assign tasks to the Secretariat, they must take care "that they also provide resources adequate for the task." Yes, but as Oil for Food illustrated, even $1.4 billion in administrative funding was not enough to provide honesty and competence. The glitch was the abysmal, secretive and conflict-of-interest-ridden management of Mr. Annan's Secretariat, not lack of money. Mr. Annan notes that he wants more transparency and accountability, but he suggests this come from more reshuffling inside the U.N. itself, not from outside oversight. We have been here before.
(emphasis mine)

I left a comment for one of the participants-
Ashok Nayak, you must be joking. All the art shows and rock concerts in the world, even if under the blessing of some holy man, will not do one whit to reduce poverty.

When it comes to reducing poverty, only one thing has shown to work- free markets(a.k.a capitalism). Strangely, the art world elites are mostly hostile to this solution.
Note-I think this post belongs to the Liberty News Central as much as it does here. So I am cross posting it at LNC.

Sep 30, 2007

All those important looking words, yet.......

Namita Kohli reviews the works of Om Prakash Sharma based on 'Tantra'. And boy, is she impressive or what! Just to pick from hither and thither from her review-

Some call it ‘abstract expressionism’; others insist it’s just a visual interplay of cosmic symbols -----“Tantra originated from the union of Shiva and Shakti, an intense practice of rituals and customs ------It delves into the source and the core of existence,” says the artist who works with the mandalas (geometric patterns), pure colours and cosmic geometry -----Thus was born Neo-Tantra, a form that art critic Suneet Chopra cautiously refers to as a broadly ‘aesthetic and visual exercise’ or ‘non-figurative abstract,’ but not based on scriptures -----Some critics even called it ‘architectonics’,” he says. With a metaphysical and mystic quality in their work ----In this “changing” context, abstract artists like Neeraj Goswami whose works delve into ‘formlessness, also fall broadly in the realm of Tantra. “My work with mysticism is a means to self-realisation---

I am really impressed, Namita. You press all the right buttons and use the right art-jargonese to be a well and fully-formed contemporary art-critic. I am sure all those words mean something but I am too stupid to figure out, so pardonnez-moi.

Now after all that trumpets and drum can we roll out the masterpieces of Om Prakash Sharma? Here is the one featured large in the print edition of the HT(regd. required)-

an artwork by Om Prakash Sharma(note -that 'a' is not part of the work but from the article headline)

Are all those important words describing the work above? Out of all that fog of obscure art-lingo comes this?! Couldn't we just say that this is a rotten work of 'art', neither attractive in it's beauty or even catching in it's ugliness. That it is drab, shabby and without a glimmer of talent? Couldn't we just say that and move on and do something nice instead?

But I suspect that if Namita ever wrote such a thing she might not be invited to the right arty-sharty parties.

A curiosity- where does one find a textbook of cosmic geometry?

(all emphasis mine)

Sep 12, 2007

Somebody explain before my really small brain explodes!

I must be stupid. This painting is perhaps the highest priced Indian work of art, selling for nearly 7 crores!

So what's so great about it? Somebody tell me before my pea-sized brain explodes trying to figure out!!! Somebody please, please tell me! What am I missing? I think this painting is a worthless piece of mediocrity -painted by an art student, I would give an 'F'. It displays little talent, skill or sense of aesthetics.

Mahisasura by Tyeb Mehta
Mahisasura by Tyeb Mehta

But that's just me. Like I said, I am stupid. Just like millions of 'normal' people who can't figure out why this work is so wonderful.

O' keepers of secret knowledge, O' Mr. Vadhera, O' Mr. and Mrs.Vazirani, O' Holy man Keshav Malik -please do enlighten mere mortals like us and explain why Tyeb Mehta is a god?

Sep 11, 2007

9/11 and me

Just a few days after 9/11, I was moved to paint this-

9/11 art
New York - Fire at first light

larger version here

One watches the world and one wishes one could do something- feed the poor, free the enterprising, care for the orphans, smack the bottoms of the venal and corrupt. One wishes one could do more.

Yet one often finds that there is little one can do but paint, write or speak out or tear one's hair.
Such helplessness.

Sep 10, 2007

Bad luck, I am still alive!

The trouble with blogging is that reality intrudes. One has to go off and do something to make a living. Gotta eat, you know. God made us like that. Maybe that is why I don't believe in Him!

But, hey, it took me a while but I'm baaaack! Thanks to the couple of people who emailed to ask me if I was well.Bad luck guys, I am still alive.

This is one among other things I have been doing -sketching nudes:

nude sketches

Lucky me!

Crossposted at Liberty News Central

Aug 19, 2007

Keeping art alive on the planet of brain-dead zombies

Ok, I confess -my greatest desire is to be God!

I know, not possible.
Then, the second best option -can I be Steve Hanks?
Steve is a most amazing artist. Whenever I look at his work, I wonder -what makes him tick? How does he do it? And -can I be him?

A watercolor by Steve Hanks

A watercolor by Steve Hanks

We owe Steve and artists like him a huge debt for keeping art alive in these bleak times. For surely, as far as art is concerned we are passing through the dark ages. Just like the dark ages mentioned in the history books, we have mostly lost the ancient knowledge and are dominated by a brain-dead art establishment that that has it's absolute modernist and post-modernist dogmas. One of the articles of faith of 'High Art' is that artist's like Steve are childish, banal, of not much aesthetic value while this-

People posing naked for a photo on a glacier.
People posing naked
for a photo on a glacier.

and this-

A huge skull crafted out of aluminum pots and pans
A huge skull crafted out of aluminum
pots and pans and weighing 1,000 kilos,
constructed by Subodh Gupta.

are greatness embodied.

Just like the discovery of ancient Greek knowledge made Renaissance possible and thus led to the age of Enlightenment, the age of Reason, great leaps in science, freeing the mind from the medieval grip of faith, and then to the Industrial revolution and capitalism-so one day the work of artists like Steve Hanks, Malcolm T.Liepke and hundreds of others will inspire a renaissance in arts, a rediscovery of knowledge that almost died in the 20th century. Almost, but not completely, thanks to the perseverance of Mr. Hanks and others.

A painting by Malcolm T.Liepke

God bless them.

Note -
Subodh Gupta has been seen on this blog before, taking a bath in dung (an appropriate comment on himself, I think).

- John Hinderaker takes a swing at that 'artwork' on ice-
World literature is replete with "artists" who bamboozle would-be sophisticates into doing foolish things, usually to the benefit, financial or otherwise, of the "artist." A master practitioner of this age-old craft is Spencer Tunick, an American photographer who travels around the globe, directing thousands of people to take off their clothes so he can photograph them. Really.

Tunick's shtick is massing hundreds of naked human bodies in a locale that ostensibly has significance for one reason or another, and photographing them, always from the rear. Tunick wants us to know, though, that he isn't just a scammer--he's an environmentalist! Hence his latest project, in which he persuaded hundreds of nude people from all over Europe to pose on Switzerland's Aletsch glacier to benefit Greenpeace, and call attention to the supposed threat of global warming:

Tunick, perched on a ladder and using a megaphone, directed nearly 600 volunteers from all over Europe and photographed them on a rocky outcrop overlooking the glacier, which is the largest in the Alps.

Later he took pictures of them standing in groups on the mass of ice and lying down. Camera crews were staged at five different points on the glacier to take photographs.

The truly dedicated volunteers, of course, were those who didn't just stand on the glacier, but sat or lay down on it. As the Reuters story notes, glaciers world-wide have been shrinking since around the start of the Industrial Revolution--that is to say, since the end of the Little Ace Age. They'll keep shrinking, too, until the next Little Ice Age or, God forbid, a full-fledged Ice Age. Never mind: neither Greenpeace nor Spencer Tunick nor all the governments in the world will have any perceptible impact on the world's glaciers, but in the meantime, the ranks of those who have been made fools of by Tunick continue to grow.

(emphasis mine)

Aug 13, 2007

Is this political?

This work of mine was recently rejected by a gallery. "We love it," I was told (I am paraphrasing), "but we fear the consequences because of the political nature of the work."

The prostitutes of Chilumpara -I
Is this political art?

I was taken aback. Have we really come to this -Art galleries censoring themselves out of fear? Fear of what -the Communist Party of India? I am aware that their reputation is not really of an entirely peaceful outfit but really! Does one one expect red goons marching in just because there is a naked prostitute leaning over the Communist Party insignia? Sadly, in these times when the state gives in to the mob readily, one can't be so sure. So I am not blaming the gallery -even if they claim to support new and brave art. Just not too brave.

Note -I did not intend this to be a 'political' work, though it might easily be interpreted that way, nor do I think this work is 'brave'. I was attracted by that huge red hammer and sickle painted on the wall of an old and shabby building. But, what the heck! Who cares? Not me.

The painting is proudly displayed at my site here.

Aug 6, 2007

Ingmar Bergman-the director who "punished his audiences"

Knight plays chess with Death,
a famous scene from a Bergman film.

Famed 'art house' director, Ingmar Bergman died recently. He was the kind of director that made the culturati go week in the knees -the crowd that stared at a canvas painted in single color in deep admiration was the crowd that went ga-ga over his films. He is the hero of that peculiar creature of our times -the wannabe, the pseudo, the pretend-intellectual who finds the incomprehensible to be profound, the obscure to be enlightening and the disgusting to be ennobling.

Philipe Martinet-

I think the first one I saw was Persona. I was shocked. You never come out unscathed from a Bergman film. It shakes you, it tosses and turns you, tears your certainties apart, stronger, better than any psychoanalysis. I was so thrilled that I went immediately to see the following one. And then all the others followed, compulsively----
(From an article in the Hindustan Times print editon, Delhi, 4th August, 2007 by Philippe Martinet who" is presently the Counsellor for Cooperation and Culture with the Embassy of France in New Delhi". Cannot find the article online.)

Rick Moody (a novelist)-
I like the darkness of his films and the spectacular performances of hatred and resentment. There is a TV version of Scenes from a Marriage in which Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson are beating each other up and screaming at each other for what seemed like six hours [the 1974 cinematic release was 167 minutes long; the Swedish TV version on DVD has a running time of 299 minutes]. I couldn't look away for a second. I found it absolutely riveting, but I have that constitution.

In this limited but powerful elite circle(powerful because it is extremely influential in setting cultural trends), you just have to admire the Bergmans, the Fellinis, the Rauschenbergs, the Tracy Emins to be part of this charming crowd.

I was once a misty eyed boy when Bergman's Fanny and Alexander(1982, Oscar for best foreign film) was screened on TV. I remember the excitement with which I looked forward to the film, having heard much about Bergman's greatness. Those were the days when I was an innocent lad, still not disabused, unsullied by cynicism -I believed what I was told, in what was written in the newspapers, in journals and said by pundits on the television. Hard to believe it now! And so I was convinced of the most ennobling experience I was about to have in watching one of the most acclaimed films.

I have only a dim memory of the film now. I can't recall a single scene. But I do recall that it was a complete disappointment, but not just that , it was much more. It's as if you realize that the Gods you worship are not Gods at all, they are not even your average mortals but a fraud - con men and impostors posing as 'greats'. I was to have that disappointing experience again and again -in movies, in art, in literature. The gods often turned out to be pygmies, not in body but in soul. Later I watched another of Bergman's films- don't remember the name -but I do believe that it was even worse.

John Podhoretz seems to be similarly inclined-

Bergman had been the key figure in a painstaking effort, by him and by critics worldwide, to elevate the cinema into an art form equivalent to novels, poetry or classical music.

These were not the kinds of critics who wanted people to believe that westerns or gangster movies or musicals could be great art on the order of Tolstoy and Dickens. These critics wanted the movies instead to mimic the forbidding demands and even more forbidding themes of high modern art - from the difficult poetry of T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound to the assaultive aesthetic of Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp.

Bergman was their man. In a relentless series of films - one or two a year - made between 1950 and 1982, he punished his audiences with a view of life so dark and foreboding that he made his fellow existentialist artist, Samuel Beckett, seem as upbeat as Oprah.

The darkness of Bergman's vision of the world and his uncompromisingly bleak expression of that vision resonated with those who viewed art not as a form of the most sublime entertainment - entertainment that transcends the merely pleasurable to offer a transformative experience - but rather as the secular version of a stern sermon.

Art, in this view, wasn't supposed to be easy to take or pleasurable to take in. It was supposed to punish you, assault you, scrub you clean of impurities.


He stopped making motion pictures in 1982, though he wrote and directed several small films for television. And the truth is, he quit just in time. His day had passed. After decades of declaring modern life worthless and offering only suicide as a way out of the nightmarish tangle of human existence, Bergman had nothing more to say.

Worse still, the earnestness of his vision was beginning to wear pretty heavily. It is impossible these days to watch his most famous film, "The Seventh Seal," without laughing - because its famous scene of Death playing chess has been so frequently and devastatingly parodied over the years that it has become one of the great images of cinematic pretentiousness.

As for the society of people who needed Ingmar Bergman to stand as the greatest example of what the cinema should do, they too had had their day by 1982. For the basic truth is that the critics who described Bergman as the greatest of film artists were people embarrassed by the movies.

They didn't admire the medium. They were offended by its unseriousness, by its capacity to entertain without offering anything elevating at the same time. They believed the movies were a low and disreputable art form and that its only salvation lay in offering moral and aesthetic instruction to its audiences about the worthlessness of existence.

Such views held sway over the opinions of an educated elite in this country and in Europe for a long time. But you can only tell people to sit down and eat their spinach for so long.

Johnathan Pearce isn't impressed either-

I think the problem are the words "art house". It conveys the idea that the benighted viewer is not just watching a film, but is having some wonderfully clever experience which is likely to be lost on the plebs. There is a lot of anti-bourgeois posturing in such films. Worse, they are self-indulgent. I find most of them unwatchable. I'd rather watch Bruce Willis in Die Hard any day of the week than this stuff. And the point that the FT writer - I forgot his name - seemed to overlook is that films that lack plots, strongly defined characters, a sense of life and drama, do not achieve the lofty goal of somehow making us "think about the big lessons of life". (He probably regards films with a beginning, middle and an end as "popcorn movies.") Arguably, you are more likely to learn a bit about humanity if you watch The Simpsons or The Incredibles rather than some dreary French art flick.

Stephen Pollard is not just unimpressed, he is dripping with disdain-

I don’t want to be the little boy who has something to ask about the Emperor’s fancy suit, but have you ever seen a Bergman film? I mean actually paid good money to sit in a darkened room or to rent a DVD, sat down, watched it, got up from your seat, turned to your companion and said: “Wow, wasn’t that wonderful?”, thought about it afterwards, recommended it to your friends, rung up your parents, made sure that they go out for a special treat to see it? In fact, do you know anyone who has ever seen a Bergman film?

Well, have you? Until you’d read the tributes today, could you even name a Bergman film (other than Fanny and Alexander, which is the one everyone has heard of but no one has ever been known to have seen)? Thought not.

Bergman is one of a large category of “important artists” whose defining quality is an almost total absence of public acclamation or popularity. Every art form has its equivalent – think James Joyce or Sir Harrison Birtwistle – but cinema is exceptional in its preponderance of such “important artists”. The latest is Lars von Trier, a maker of terminally dull films that are, nonetheless, lauded by cineastes (they have their own word, signifying that they’re a cut above bog-standard moviegoers).
But much as I think Bergman is overrated, I hold only one thing against him: ruining Woody Allen. Somewhat bizarrely, Allen has long revered Bergman and made a series of films – September, Another Woman and Shadows and Fog – modelled on Bergman’s style. And although he has made some decent films since, Allen’s decline started with the Bergman hommage films. And for that the Swedish director can never be forgiven.

Watch a Bergman film(if you can!) and then watch this parody of his films- De Duva(The Dove). It was made in 1968 and was nominated for the Oscars. It is about 15 minutes long. It would be like having a sundae after a burnt toast.

(All emphasis mine)

Jul 5, 2007

Another false god -Jeram Patel

Yes, Mr. Patel,
after looking at your
thingies, I feel this way too.

Hear all ye art lovers - bow and kneel as you behold your new god, the great Jeram Patel. The gates of pantheon have opened to let in this master of all master artists. He is now officially the legendary Mr.Patel-
(from the print edition of the Hindustan Times, Delhi edition(regd. reqd.) )
In a ceremony held at India International Centre, Lecture Hall, Lalit Kala Akademi awarded fellowship to Mr. Jeram Patel. This honorary title certifies the artist as a National Legend. Mr. Jeram Patel (b. 1930, Sojitra, Kaira Dist., Gujarat) was the student of Sir J.J. School of Art, Mumbai. Today, most of his exhibitions are held in India and abroad. A living legend, Mr. Patel have(sic) set the trends of Indian art and given a new meaning to the devices of artistic imagery. Mr. Patel is the 50th proud recipient of this highest honour. He enters the niche group of legends such as- Mr.Jamini Roy, Mr.Nandlal Bose,Mr. N.S. Bendre. Mr. M. F. Hussain and Ms.
Kapila Vatsyayan.

It is said that the gods we worship tell something about us. And what kind of a god is Mr. Patel?
He paints some blackish, longish, jumbled up thingies. A sample-

See more of these thingies here.
For these he is considered legendary by that council of wise men and women that make up the Lalit Kala Akademi.

I often wonder if these savants take the average but intelligent person for a fool. Just take one long and good look at one of Mr. Patel's thingies and then ask yourself -a great artist? a god?

Is it too much to ask if one of these wise men will answer this obvious curiosity- by what standards? why?

Jul 1, 2007

Rameshwar Broota vs. Thomas Wilmer Dewing

Compare and contrast.

This post was created specifically in response to an animated discussion I am having about if the 'abstract art' is art at all over at the Ryze network. I am saying 'no', they are saying 'yes'. The discussion started when a gentleman discovered Art Renewal Center and read it's philosophy and seemed struck as if by lightning. Once again, ARC becomes the starting point of a furious debate.

Here are two works of art , of different eras to be sure, both non- 'abstracts', side-by-side. One is by a contemporary Indian artist who is considered to be one of the great artists of present, selling at ever higher prices. The other is by Thomas Wilmer Dewing who died in 1938.

1) Scripted in Time II
Rameshwar Broota

2) The Recitation
Thomas Dewing

About a hundred years separate the two -and a such a fall of standards in this time. Who says that things get better with time, that progress is inevitable? Not in the arts.

May 29, 2007

Obelix commits hate crimes

Here is Obelix, that lovable roly-poly character, indulging in one of the worst imaginable crimes of the post-modern times-
stereotyping of ethnic groups, looking down upon foreigners, using insulting language towards certain communities, unable to empathize with the 'other'.

Behold the white , male racist-

and this-

and more-

The racist pig continues-

He's unstoppable-

This...this white privileged, male!

At least spare the Indians and the Persians, puhleeeze!!
Too late!

Now Uncle Ahmadenajad is going to be very angry!

Apr 17, 2007

What a bloody marvelous painting, part 1

After going through a few art galleries, going through displays of contemporary art one gets tired - there is so much mindlessness and mediocrity masquerading as 'high art' that words cannot even begin to describe the feeling. It's a fatigue, a mental tiredness, a 'civilization -is-doomed-and-I-can't-do-anything' kind of listlessness.
Then to find some sanity I turn to some fine works that used to be the norm, the standard of the day.
Here is one such bloody good painting -

Scene of sale, Morocco
oil on canvas
60.96 X 91.44 cm
24 X 36 inches
Edwin Lord Weeks

See it here in it's full glory at the ARC.

Apr 4, 2007

Snake-oil salesmen

If we judge the art world honchos- the reviewers , the critics, the art theorists, many art dealers - by the same standards that a person selling a product or a service is judged, then most of the art world elites would be behind bars for selling or recommending shoddy products(Picasso's and Husain's) , having exploitative profit margins, making exaggerated and utterly untrue claims (false advertising) about quality("Mr.Khanna is a great artist") and (this, I think, is the greatest infraction) boring us to death with their soporific mumbo-jumbo("He assumes the position of the narrator or katha vachak, looking outward to the other rather than the self. The central image then is of the artist as commentator, who through painted gesture and
narrative seems to set up threads of connectivity
."). They would have the same status as of conmen, petty thieves and snake- oil salesmen.

But art , we are told, is different. Normal rules do not apply. You must suspend any rational thought before you take a plunge in these (murky) waters. You must not believe what you see. You must believe what they tell you, or else you will be taken as a country bumpkin or worse- a right-wing reactionary if not an outright fascist
You must say a Hail Husain! or be considered an infidel.
Go ahead, say your Hail Husain!'s here.

Related post -Ms. Narayan, please, please, please do tell us - what makes this a masterpiece?

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